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Strong headline from the NYT. Here's the text. There are a few photos in the article.

The inventor of the labradoodle, the ubiquitous, mopheaded designer dog, said that creating the mixed breed was one of his life’s regrets.
“I opened a Pandora box and released a Frankenstein monster,” the creator, Wally Conron, said on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s podcast “Sum of All Parts” last week.
Mr. Conron, who has been credited with sparking a crossbreeding frenzy resulting in cockapoos, shih poos and puggles, said the labradoodle was originally intended as a guide dog, not a fashion accessory.
“I bred the labradoodle for a blind lady whose husband was allergic to dog hair,” Mr. Conron said, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“Why people are breeding them today, I haven’t got a clue,” he added.
For some breeders — and Instagrammers posting photos of their beloved “doodles” in little rainboots and sunglasses — Mr. Conron’s comments rankled. But perhaps the line that cut the most was this:
“I find that the biggest majority are either crazy or have a hereditary problem,” he said.

Amy Murphy, the president of the Australian Labradoodle Club of America, begged to differ.
“All dogs are crazy,” she said.
Based in Denver, Ms. Murphy has been breeding labradoodles since 2006 and said that, despite some ups and downs, demand for what she called “a hearty breed” had continued to increase.
“They are quirky and fun-loving,” she said. But they don’t like to be left alone.
“If they are not challenged and don’t have people around, then they act out,” she added.
A spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club, which does not recognize the breed, said the organization made it “a point not to comment on breeds, especially, negatively.”
“Every dog will have its days, so to speak,” said the spokeswoman, Brandi Hunter.
“However, that’s the reason why we always talk the predictability of a purpose-bred dog,” she added. “There is something to be said for having refined and done the research to develop a breed.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the “I Love My Labradoodle” Facebook group, which has over 27,000 likes, made no mention of Mr. Conron’s comments on the podcast.
Cory Conway, a labradoodle owner in Goshen, N.Y., who is part of the Facebook group, said his five-month-old labradoodle, Kelby, is “so intelligent” and “gets commands so fast,” adding that his last dog was a purebred Yorkshire terrier.
Some were vindicated by Mr. Conron’s remarks.
“As a groomer I can agree!!” one user wrote on Facebook. “They made smart dogs into crazy mutts! That’s the truth of it. They are very overpriced mutts. And I’ve been bitten by ‘oodle’ dogs the most!”
Attempts to reach Mr. Conron on Wednesday were not successful.
The Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia provided Labradors to people who needed guide dogs. Mr. Conron bred the world’s first labradoodle for a blind woman who needed a guide dog, but whose husband was allergic to dog hair.

The World’s First Labradoodles
In the podcast, Mr. Conron said he created the breed in 1989 while working at the Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia. He had received a request from a blind woman in Hawaii whose husband was allergic to longhaired dogs. It should have been an easy problem to solve, he said, noting that poodles, which don’t shed, were a good choice. But he struggled to find a suitable match.
“Over the period of three years, I tried 33 standard poodles, but not one was successful,” he said.
His boss, John Gosling, pressured him to find an alternative, so he decided to breed a poodle and a Labrador. He met resistance from poodle breeders before deciding to mate his boss’s male poodle, Harley, with a female Labrador, Brandy.
Nine weeks later, Brandy gave birth to what are widely regarded as the world’s first labradoodles: Sheik, Simon and Sultan, according to reports at the time. Mr. Conron sent hair clippings from each to the woman in Hawaii, and only Sultan’s elicited no allergic reaction from her husband.
“He trained up and he finished up going to Hawaii, which was great,” Mr. Conron said.
But then there was the problem of the remaining two puppies. No one seemed to want them, so Mr. Conron went to his organization’s public relations department and urged it to tell reporters that the group had created a “special” hypoallergenic guide dog breed.
The breed was a surprise hit, much to Mr. Conron’s regret: He had created a demand that “unethical, ruthless” breeders were more than happy to meet, he said.
“I realized what I had done within a matter of days,” he said. “I went to our big boss at the time and I said to him, ‘Look, I’ve created a monster. We need to do something about it to control it.’”
But it was too late. Today, he said, the breed is often plagued by mental or physical problems. But Mr. Gosling, his boss at the time, disagrees.
“It’s actually turned out to be, in my opinion, something quite fantastic,” said Mr. Gosling, who took in Sultan after the dog retired from service in Hawaii. When Sultan died, Mr. Gosling buried the dog in his backyard, alongside its father, Harley.

A Haunting Invention
This isn’t the first time Mr. Conron has publicly derided his creation, which has been taken in by celebrities like Christie Brinkley, Jennifer Aniston, Tiger Woods and Neil Young. Before being given a Portuguese water dog, President Barack Obama and his family considered a labradoodle.
“I’ve done a lot of damage,” Mr. Conron told The Associated Press in 2014. “I’ve created a lot of problems.”
He said that unscrupulous people setting up “horrific” puppy mills, and backyard breeders who were breeding for bucks, were to blame for producing a glut of unstable dogs that would eventually be euthanized.
In an interview with Psychology Today that same year, Mr. Conron acknowledged that the “doodle” name was “a gimmick” that went global.
“People ask me, ‘Aren’t you proud of yourself?’ I tell them: ‘No! Not in the slightest.’ I’ve done so much harm to pure breeding and made many charlatans quite rich,” he said. “I wonder, in my retirement, whether we bred a designer dog — or a disaster!”

Susan C. Beachy contributed research.
 

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Dogs that are methodical make the best leader dogs. Poodles are not methodical, hence the experiment with crossing the poodle with a Lab.

Cockapoos have been around since the sixties. From what I have heard, cockapoos are a very nice mix. Both breeds have soft personalities and want to please you. I don't think Conron is responsible for the crazy mixes we are seeing today, other than the Labradoodle.
 

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Michigan Gal I think you can teach poodles to be methodical. I have worked on this concept with Javelin and utility articles this summer. I did the Janice DeMello around the clock method. He now clearly understands that it is his job to go to the pile and work around the pattern of it in a thorough and patterned method, to do so without kicking the articles all over the place and to come back from the pile with the correct article. I think it is possible to teach poodles many complex tasks like this where they are taught a general method and can then practice it to be generalized to what the task is. Given that service dog training is often based on similar patterns and there are many successful poodles working in service with their handlers I am not quite with you on that one point.


Otherwise yeah, labradoodles have fully sprung from Pandora's box and dragged a lot of silly new sorts of doodles out of the box with them. Sadly no going back so far as I can see.
 

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One reason poodles struggle with guide dog training isn't the need to be methodical, but the ability to bond first to a puppy raiser, then a trainer, and then finally the handler. Three families in three years is difficult for many poodles to cope with. As an owner handler of a poodle service dog, I can see how hard it would be for Noelle to be given to someone else as a fully trained adult. That being said, I will never work another breed in public.

I agree the doodle craze has encouraged breeding for cash. If one more person walks over to Noelle and coos, "OH, a mini golden doodle!" I'm going to throw up.
 

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Yes the doodle crosses were around in early 70's. People have been cross breeding since before WW2. They did so to created what they needed/wanted. So I think he's only responsible for labradoodles... I could go with the idea that he set gasoline to the doodle craze.


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Michigan Gal, I do nose work competition with my minipoo and she's definitely methodical. When the dogs get beyond the novice level of nose work the search area becomes quite large and the number of items to search also becomes very large, which can include scents hidden in cracks in a lawn, under rocks in an unpaved driveway. You need a dog that will search methodically or you will miss hides.

Same with her search articles, she is going around the articles, checked each one before picking up the correct one to return to me.

While I have no knowledge, I do believe Click's post about three changes of ownership may be a problem.

I used to take Babykins to a groomer where I stayed to watch........ the groomers always complained when someone wanted to bring a doodle in. I saw some of them had very difficult fur to work with.

Goldendoodles are not the worst mixes..... ,someone in my area is breeding mini bernadoodles - I've seen quite a few now, this "greeder" is clearly breeding a lot of puppies sadly.
 
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Sheepadoodles & Pyrdoodles are a big thing here aside from the mass of lab/golden doodles. I almost adopted a Pyrdoodle who was too much for his owner.
 

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I've heard Click's point about them having trouble with the change a few times, and think there's something to it-- but they also do make successful service dogs, who are sometimes raised with similar amounts of change.

What I think I either heard or read somewhere once (and I wish I could remember where) was that there's a flawed concept here. Sure, poodles definitely have some downsides as potential leader/guide dogs, but there's also the flaw that they were being trained by people who were not used to training poodles. Despite many similarities as retrievers, the way a lab learns and the way a poodle learns and the way each responds to rewards, stimulus in the environment, etc. and how it's handled are going to be different generally as a breed. So I remember reading/hearing wherever this was that however gifted as trainers and experienced they were, if they were using methods for their labs and putting on a poodle, they may have been missing some things that could've set up for better success.

I also remember the same source (I wish I could remember who or where, argh!) suggesting that comparing your average albeit well-bred (probably?) poodle to labs bred specifically for this type of work is going to end up in fewer successes. Period. If they had a breeding program selecting for all the things they wanted in poodles, the success would be more likely, just as with their labs, though quite likely still never quite as high from everything I've been reading.

So. I've read this before a few times, and I think it's interesting, but I also look at the dozens of poodles who failed and wonder if there's more to explore in that part, aside from the doodle thing.
 

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I agree with Gemstorm. I think what frustrates me the most is how people so badly want poodle-like dogs but are so desperate to avoid the silly stigma that poodles have. I see at least five doodles for every poodle around where I live.
 

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I agree with Gemstorm. I think what frustrates me the most is how people so badly want poodle-like dogs but are so desperate to avoid the silly stigma that poodles have. I see at least five doodles for every poodle around where I live.
Yes, I wonder that as well. I have 2 acquaintances who recently intentionally bought doodles. For one family it was their second. The other family had owned goldens, and said that the parents of the new pup were health tested (after having several GRs die of cancer . . . can that be tested for?)

Just saw family #1 (my dental hygienist) who said that their 1 YO GD was full of energy and had the poodle leap. They’re struggling with the dog being at peak energy just as they return from work and are ready to collapse. I recommended the same things as I would to any other dog owner to tire the pup out.

The second family is a work colleague and lives on the far end of my neighborhood. This discussion is motivating me to follow up and see how the new pup is working out.

I’ve noticed more poodles locally lately, about a dozen at a recent agility trial, and more at my AKC training club. There’s a breeder of silver standards that trains for conformation at one end of the building, with our obedience class at the other. And at least a half dozen spoos among other classes on the same nights that I’m at the club. And I see a few spoos on walks through my neighborhood, usually from the car.

I understand wanting to avoid the burden of grooming a poodle, but that would apply to a doodle as well.
 

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So confession...

After realizing I was ready for a doggie in my life again, SO and I decided to get a pup together. His fave dog is a Golden retriever & mine a Standard... so guess what we compromised and decided on?.... Yup.

I researched Golden Doodles from top to bottom and watched countless YouTube videos from families that had training videos and “a day in the life”/“things you should know before getting a doodle”. And while no knock yo their cute fur buddies I picked up on some things I wasn’t very fond of.

-even the rescues were highly competitive and pricey for non tested & orgin unknown dogs. Some of the “rescues” and (I’m sure now) BYB we’re pushing prices topping purebreds with none of the precautions . Smh.

- this F1,F2, F2B imo lacked any real science. A cross is a cross is a cross and you can still wind up with any variety of pups. (Ever listened to a group of doodle owners talk about their pups lineage? It sounded so odd and foreign to me. But I bit my tongue & tried not to be a Debbie downer)

- almost always zero health testing & physically obvious bad breeding.

- I’m not fond of the issues going on in many lines of Goldens at this current time. It seems Dalmatians had a really rough go years ago and now it’s our Golden buddies now .

Add in the fact that I favored mixes that looked as close to a purebred poodle as possible. So I really asked myself...What the heck was I doing?!? I’m a Spoo girl! To each their own but As far as I’m concerned, poodles are often imitated but never duplicated.

I switched my search to reputable, stand out Spoo breeders and won the lottery with my Nola/Arreau pup. SO wasn’t happy I’d switched up on him at first but honestly I didn’t give him much of a choice . Hey! We both knew this was going to end up being MY dog anyhow.

And nooowww anytime people yell out “is that a Golden Doodle?!?” when we go on walks, I happily smile & say he’s a Standard Poodle.

It’s crazy how many people have never even seen a Standard in person, let alone interacted with one ...and that I was once one of them!


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Legs&Leashes21, your story sounds so much like mine! I grew up with miniature poodles and knew a poodle was the only breed I had any interest in owning once I was ready for my own dog.

Then I met my husband...he had all the stereotypical aversions to poodles. He wanted a golden retriever, so like you, we compromised and started looking at goldendoodles. I did a ton of research looking for a reputable breeder with health testing and such (oh how much I've learned since then), and after a long phone call with the breeder to be accepted, we put down a deposit and waited for the next litter.

Months went by and long story short(ish), things didn't work out. I was beyond ecstatic (and incredibly shocked!) when it was time to start looking for another breeder and my husband said "let's just look for a poodle."

In those many months we had been waiting for the doodle I had reluctantly compromised on, my parents' mini poodle stayed with us for a couple weeks while they were on a cruise. Wouldn't you know, that dog stole my hubby's heart in the two weeks we had him, and suddenly not only did my husband now want a poodle, he even wanted a mini instead of the big dog he originally thought he wanted. Now he's a total poodle convert! I even overheard him telling a friend he would never own anything else.

One thing hasn't changed, and that's that my husband still doesn't like the "poodle haircut." Once we agreed on a poodle, our next compromise was that I had to let my husband keep our boy's face fuzzy, and no poofy topknots. Of course without the poodle face, everyone assumes he's a labradoodle. I love when someone comes up to him and actually recongizes he's a poodle!
 

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Yes, I first read about his admitting his mistake in 1990, the year after he did it.

Basically Doodles are mutts. And crazy people pay big money for them. They are Not a breed !

No truly great breeder, of either Labs or Poodles, will allow their dogs to be bred to make a mutt. So they are all bred from substandard dogs. (Probably not his first one)

And people who have Doodles that don't shed really lucked out. Some of them have awful fur and shed worse than anything.

Actually I have a standard poodle for my Service Dog. He absolutely loves it :) He makes an awesome service dog, but they do need to be trained differently than a lab. I have had both.

I trained him myself starting at 13 weeks as no one was training poodles (or any SD) to do the things I needed. I too chose a poodle since I have allergies.

He is so amazing I will never have any other breed again. I probably should be looking for another pup to train again !
 

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I was thinking and I do wonder if the doodle craze was influenced by the rise in public awareness of the genetic health of purebred dogs. People are more and more aware that inbreeding coupled with lack of health testing has caused many purebred dogs to have high incidence of disease. I think a lot of doodle owners believe they are making the smarter choice by going with a mix of breeds, but in reality it fails because a) they buy from terrible breeders and b) they often end up with diseases of both parent breeds.

I think there was a well intentioned message out there that mixed breed dogs are healthy in an effort to get more dogs out of shelters. But it has backfired. I do often detect an undertone in peoples' voices when they talk about their doodles that seems to be some sort of moral superiority for choosing a doodle. I don't get it.
 

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I wonder if the trainers say that Labs make better service dogs than poodles simply do not know that poodles become bored if you make them do the same thing over and over ad nauseum. I suspect a poodle will be an awesome service dog if the training is suitable - witness Click's wonderful Noelle.


There is a wonderful series of articles in the Poodle Variety magazine about the differences in training the varieties of poodles. The author is Joanne Neal (Sandstorm poodles). One thing she said about standard poodles that struck me as really important is that if you keep making the poodle do the same thing over and over thinking that is the way to perfection, the result will be that the poodle begins to improvise on the activity.
 
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